Day Seven Reflection
Practicing Forgiveness with All Your Mind
Reflection By Scott Stoner
Vocation is one of the areas addressed in the Mind quadrant of the Living Compass model for well-being. Vocation is related to knowing and living out our purpose, our calling in life. It means knowing who we really are and showing up as our true, best, authentic selves. According to Parker Palmer, who has written a great deal about vocation, “Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear.” Vocation is not so much what we do, but who we are.
In her reflection earlier in the week, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows began by reminding us that Jesus’ call to forgiveness, especially in the eyes of our increasingly secular world, is extreme. The Christian understanding of forgiveness is clearly countercultural. Who can forget the response of the Amish community in West Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania in the wake of a school shooting that took the lives of five children before the shooter took his own life? The Amish went to the family of the shooter the same day and offered their forgiveness and consolation. The Christian practice of forgiveness is indeed radical, extreme, and countercultural. Connecting this with Parker Palmer’s thoughts, we can see that practicing forgiveness is not so much a goal we pursue, but a calling from God to which we hear and respond. The Amish in Nickel Mines modeled for us that offering forgiveness is something that we can’t notdo.
There are many voices, both in and around us, that are calling out, “follow me.” These are the voices of our culture, families of origin, friends, workplaces, social media, etc. Making time each day to be able to listen to God’s voice, God’s calling, is essential then to the practice of forgiveness and to living out our vocation as Christians.
Making It Personal: Reread the two Parker Palmer quotes and note your responses to them. How does the story of the extreme forgiveness practiced by the Amish from Nickel Mines affect you? What do you think of the idea that living a Christian life, including the practice of forgiveness, is a vocation to which you are called?
Follow along with us on our retreat with our daily reflection and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner, Creator of Living Compass Wellness Initiative, The Rev. Mary Bea Sullivan, Chair of the Commission on Spirituality, Ms. Kathy Graham, Coordinator of Lifelong Christian Formation and The Rev. Kelley Hudlow, Coordinator of Communications.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.